Show cover of Alpha Trials

Alpha Trials

Welcome to the Alpha Trials Podcast, the go-to resource for new tech managers who want to evolve and become more effective leaders. Our host, Alex Kuzmuk, is a seasoned Senior Technical Program Manager at one of the biggest tech companies in the world. This podcast is all about sharing efficient techniques, best practices, and stories from other successful tech managers. We believe that everyone can learn something new and valuable from the experiences of others, no matter where they are in their management journey. If you're a new tech manager, you'll find plenty of useful insights and practical tips to help you navigate your new role with confidence. We know that the transition from engineer to tech manager can be challenging, so we're here to support you every step of the way. And if you're a seasoned manager, you'll still find plenty of value in our podcast. Also, you can contribute to the podcast joining as a guest. So, whether you're looking to level up your management skills, learn from others' experiences, or just stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices, the Alpha Trials Podcast has something for everyone. Tune in now and join the conversation!


Why don’t managers use issue trackers to organise their own tasks?
Engineering teams are using issue tracking tools to organise their workflow. Why don't managers use the same tool to structure their own workflow? To make the process of development manageable humans invented issue tracking systems like Jira. It allows us to track every individual task and make sure that all processes are visible. We build sophisticated process flows on top of them, require the development team to master these tools, update tickets on time, collaborate via comments, etc. We track every task for the engineering team to make sure that we won’t miss anything. At the same time I never saw a manager who used the same approach and tools to structure and track his own work, tasks and deliverables. We tend to avoid Jira for management tasks like 1:1 with direct reports and our line managers, working on documents, preparing and sending reports, meetings and discussions, interviews, etc. We do not put our tasks in the backlog there, we do not calculate our capacity and do not plan our own “sprints”. Why? Tune in now and join the conversation! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email them to address
12:39 04/07/2023
Every Case Is Corner Case
In this episode of Alpha Trials, I explore the significance of corner case testing in delivering reliable products. Through real-life examples, we learn the importance of testing systems in challenging conditions to uncover hidden issues. Traditional testing environments fall short in replicating real-world scenarios, making it crucial to prioritise all cases equally. By treating every failure as an opportunity for improvement, companies can build trust, enhance user experiences, and avoid reputation damage. The video emphasises the need for comprehensive testing methodologies that encompass worst-case scenarios and replicate diverse user environments. Tune in now and join the conversation! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email them to address
12:05 26/06/2023
Will AI reshape knowledge management in organisations?
My guest is Dmytro Nekrasov, R&D manager who draws inspiration and ideas from contemplation of the Universe in its majestical manifold: from smallest particles to superclusters of galaxies.  Join us in this episode as we explore the fascinating world of knowledge generation, sharing, and application. In this thought-provoking video, we dive into the origins of knowledge, unraveling the mysteries of its emergence on planet Earth. From biological aspects of knowledge sharing to the evolution of wisdom over time, we uncover the profound role of experience in knowledge generation and the intricate workings of memory. Moving forward, we shift our focus to the present-day landscape of knowledge management, particularly within organisations. Discover how knowledge is generated and the crucial building blocks that transform data into valuable insights.  As our discussion unfolds, we also contemplate the future of knowledge management, where AI and machine learning play a transformative role. Can AI reshape the very fabric of knowledge management? Delve into the risks and rewards of AI becoming a universal oracle, and the delicate balance between knowledge and imagination. In our quest to envision the future, we raise questions about AI's ability to apply knowledge and innovate in lieu of humans. Discover what motivates AI to push boundaries, how it prioritises innovation, and who ultimately benefits from these advancements. 
46:56 20/06/2023
The dark side of second source components
In this episode, I will dive into the world of hardware product development and explore the crucial role of second source components. When creating a hardware product, it's common to rely on various individual components that serve as the building blocks of the final device. However, factors such as component shortages or end-of-life cycles can disrupt the supply chain and require the need for substitute components. I discuss the challenges that arise from these situations and share valuable insights on managing, choosing, and validating substitute components before integrating them into your product. I will touch the risks involved and strategies to ensure a smooth transition to second source components, minimizing disruptions and maximizing product stability. Tune in now and join the conversation! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email them to address
10:36 13/06/2023
Visibility Matters. Stand Out, Get Ahead
In this episode, I dive deep into the concept of visibility of an individual in an organization and its significance. I explore the challenges individuals face in gaining visibility, such as lack of opportunities, stiff competition, rigid hierarchy structures, and departmental silos. Additionally, I discuss the factors that help increase visibility, including effective communication, leveraging meetings and emails, and the importance of clear and concise messaging. I also highlight the value of regular status reports and the role of networking in building relationships and expanding one's professional network. I cover the benefits of taking on leadership roles, demonstrating initiative, and being proactive in problem-solving. Through real-life examples, I illustrate the impact of visibility on career growth and share practical tips for enhancing visibility within an organization. Tune in now and join the conversation! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email them to address
19:58 09/06/2023
Kreslav Babanin: How to deliver results and protect own team at the same time
Finding the balance between urgent business needs and mental health in the team is not a trivial task. It takes a while before the new manager calibrates. And during this process you might make multiple typical mistakes. In this episode you will learn how to avoid mistakes and find the balance fast. To talk about these topics I’ve invited Kreslav Babanin, Software Development Manager at Amazon. Kreslav comes from a mixed educational background, combining technical and managerial formal education,  holding a Masters Science degree in Computer Science and an MBA in Managerial Communications. My guest has over than 10 years of experience working in software engineering as an agile leader, full stack web developer and recently became people manager. At this podcast, Kreslav will join me to share insights into his journey as a new manager, the mistakes he made and lessons he learned. Tune in now and join the conversation! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email them to address
36:44 30/05/2023
The superpower of working backwards approach
In this episode you will learn what it means to work backwards. This is a very powerful technique which can streamline your projects, improve efficiency and superpower you as a tech manager. You will understand key benefits and limitations of this approach. There are many cases where you can use this tool, but also there are some cases where this tool won’t work. Also, we will review multiple examples to see how to use this approach in the real world. In this episode we will discover the nature of working backwards. This approach is famous as one of the key success factors of Amazon. Colin Bryar and Bill Carr even wrote a book about it. Tune in now and join the conversation! If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email them to address
14:38 22/05/2023
How to build alignment with your teams
In this Episode you will learn about alignment, how to identify misalignment, and how to build alignment with your teams. Also you will learn how to maintain alignment later on. What is misalignment? And what is alignment? And how can we build alignment? You will find answers in these questions in this Episode. Alignment is when everyone understands the final goal of a program and their role in achieving it. To build alignment, it is essential to eliminate ambiguity, define responsibilities, set deadlines, identify risks, allocate resources, prioritize tasks, and manage expectations. Misalignment occurs due to changes in the program, lack of communication, and personnel changes. The best checkpoints to ensure alignment are joining a program and approaching major milestones. Communication and documentation are key to achieving alignment. If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to email them to address
13:02 15/05/2023